Thursday, 25 June 2015

Media's share of corruption

All of us are either corrupt or support corruption in one way or the other. But the worst of the lot are media people who are apparently waging constant war against corruption. The other day, someone broke the news mocking governance in Sindh by saying, ‘what will be the fate of a province where Director Anticorruption is arrested for corruption.’ Such is the role of media i.e. director anticorruption in the country. Only difference is that this director is badly exposed but not put behind bars. They tell blatant lies in your face. They pop up daily on your TV screens and never fail to lie. In recent past, media empires have been raised by getting a fair share out of ongoing corruption in the country. Mostly, they get paid for maintaining silence and on other occasions for exposing the enemies of their masters.

Look at the scams surfacing in Sindh. Everyday dawns with disturbing accounts of corruption. For years, corruption reigned supreme in Sindh. Today, every media channel is throwing headline tickers on corruption stories but I have a simple question to them, where was their investigative journalism for the last so many years? Why did they not unearth this stuff? Was it not their responsibility as well? They have done well exposing poor butcher who sells meat of donkey or a baker with unhygienic cooking practices. But a lot more was expected from them. They are minting heaps of money. Coffers of Media seths are overflowing with bullion but nothing substantive was made public against the big fish. They were part of this corrupt curry being cooked in this country for years just like director anticorruption of Sindh.

Lets give a little break to usual suspects like Najam Sethi, Hamid Mir, Mehr, Kashif etc and look at some of the stalwarts of media.

Most popular voice against corruption is Hassan Nisar, whose employer is Mir Khalil ur Rehman. While hiring, you must have signed up a piece of paper as terms of service. This paper ensures that employer has a say in what you will say on air. Mr Hassan Nisar do you not smell corruption odor coming out of the currency notes you get from Geo TV. Abusing others from the corrupt forum of a media owner is the essence of Hassan Nisar’s heroics. He is selling what sells in numbers. He is saying rather shouting what we want to hear. Like every other columnist in the country he is also making money. It is not a cynical view but it just hurts to think, even those who present themselves as Messiahs to this poor nation are part of the problem not the solution.

Today Ayaz Amir considered to be icon of intelligentsia in this country writes against the govt because he was kicked out of PML(N) before last elections. He does maintain a sense of false dignity about his work but his indignation for exodus from ruling elite is evident if carefully read between the lines. Not long ago, same person used to defend this party and its leadership on media. What happened to his serene level of intellect then. Nothing just that PML(N) stopped serving his purpose. Now he adroitly writes and speaks against the govt .It all comes down to personal interests.

Most of the leading columnists are on the pay roll of political parties. Not a single honest, unbiased media man of integrity is available in journalist community. Everyone speaks the agenda he is paid for. The older the journalist the more shrewd he gets in his craft. Look at Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami. He is spokesperson of PML(N). What else you people want from life. You already have a successful career. Made enough money for generations to come. For making a place in this society and among journalist fraternity, there ought to be some journalistic responsibility upon these alligators but they continue to thrive. You will be surprised to find out the lifestyles of Kamran Shafi, Mubashar Luqman and other hitmen of media.

Idea of this entry is not to target a particular individual. This was just a preview of leading journalists whom people expect to be truthful to this country and nation. But no one is. Very unfortunate. Very sad.

What we can do under these circumstances is to stay alert to media shenanigans. Look at things critically. Do not get carried away by a particular column, program or talk show. Look at things in totality. Bigger picture is bleak but they should not continue to make fool out of us. Their sponsors including politicians and foreign donors should not get the worth of their money as long as we are aware that they are kith and kin of media. We must not buy rotten product media is trying to sell every day of the week. We need to really wake up and smell the coffee.